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12.20.09

“DRM is Probably 70% of the Complication in Supporting Open Source”

Posted in Bill Gates, DRM, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Kernel, Microsoft at 7:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ATi X800 Pro Core
ATi X800 Pro Core

Summary: RadeonHD driver suffers from Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) which Microsoft and the copyright cartel push into GPUs

“Security as a lock-in” is a famous antitrust exhibit/memo from Bill Gates. It also seems to manifest itself in DRM/TPM, which are not concepts that Gates was ever against (back when he ran Microsoft). He was in favour of them.

“Gates made it explicit that he wanted to screw Linux with undocumented ACPI extensions and software patents”DRM — whether Gates is responsible for it or not — is truly harming GNU/Linux in the same way that ACPI does. Gates made it explicit that he wanted to screw Linux with undocumented ACPI extensions and software patents. One person’s “security” is another person’s exclusion or “lock-in” and one thing that Gates is good at is monopolisation of markets under a thick PR blanket. He has a whole foundation of charlatans doing exactly that.

One of our readers told us this evening that “there were some interesting comments recently in #radeonhd about Digital Restrictions Management being about 60-70 percent of the reason for the hold-ups in the progress of the open radeonhd driver for AMD/ATI graphics cards.” The full conversation can be found here (for those who are interested in the finer details).

One person says, “damn DRM, screw it. I have not been using it since its introduction and I still go to live concerts and cinema. :/ I thought the reasons of concealing were lots of hours spent by technician on card design, so it does not get to “rivals” for free. But DRM.. damn. :///”

Bridgman, who is apparently a graphics driver developer, replies with: “DRM is probably 70% of the complication in supporting open source, 3rd party IP is 20%, competitive stuff is maybe 10%”

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 20th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

New Information About Intel’s Attack on OLPC, Bill Gates Hijacks the Educational Systems

Posted in America, Antitrust, Bill Gates, Courtroom, Hardware, Microsoft, OLPC, Vista, Windows at 6:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A closer look at Walter Bender’s recent public talk and more disenchanting news about the activities of Bill Gates

IN OUR OLPC Wiki page we have accumulated some required background information. It ought to shed light on Intel’s attacks on OLPC, using a high volume of evidence. We won’t be repeating old information, but sceptics who are not aware of what Intel did to OLPC will still have access to information from independent, respected journals that verified the facts.

It was only a few days ago that we wrote about Intel’s crimes, for which it is being sued in the United States at the moment. A lot of attention is paid to all sorts of abusive monopolies, but Intel’s PR must be very effective because the company does not get much flak (not from the general public anyway) for crimes that it commits very systematically, then destroying evidence of these crimes.

“The lawsuits alleged that Microsoft not only engaged in collusion with Intel but that it also shipped a product which it knew was defective.”Microsoft was sued for colluding with Intel in order to sell “junk PCs” with Windows Vista [1, 2, 3]. It was a class action and there was more than one lawsuit.

The lawsuits alleged that Microsoft not only engaged in collusion with Intel but that it also shipped a product which it knew was defective. For Intel, the aspiration was to make money from spare hardware which it saw as obsolete. It’s the equivalent of a butcher selling an animal’s head as though it was chops or a shopkeeper selling bad carrots with a lot of condiments on them, in order to hide the fact that they are rotten.

We have just found videos that are only days old. We were particularly interested in Walter Bender’s wonderful talk (keynote). He is the benevolent master behind Sugar and his principles have earned him both fame and notoriety (among Microsoft apologists for the most part). Mr. Bender makes reference to the “Free software” community, which he admires (he doesn’t say “open source”) and in the following first video we found something particularly interesting that suggests Intel was pulling the “junk PCs” trick about 2 years ago, maybe in order to harm OLPC. Older evidence does seem to suggest that this was Intel’s intention. OLPC used AMD chips at the time, but it is moving to ARM now.

Skip to somewhere around the fourth minute (starting 4:15) and listen to what the man says. To quote:

They figured out, “OK, this might be a little bit too slow for our needs, and that Intel still had a couple of Celeron N CPUs on stock that they needed to get rid of, so ASUS stepped in and made the first EEE PC, which became a huge success after they announced it…”

Sounds familiar, eh?

Here are these new videos (in full).

Part I

Part II

Part III

As an important reminder, Mr. Bender insisted on the freedom of children in the face of pressure and abuse from Microsoft, which perceives kids — as well as developing nations and OLPC — as just a bunch of competitive tools to make money from (or otherwise bury). That’s their commercial goal and methods, which they carry out on behalf of shareholders.

To quote Bill Gates, regarding OLPC:

“Geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you’re not sitting there cranking the thing while you’re trying to type.”

This clearly shows how Microsoft has been viewing OLPC because it didn’t run Windows. OLPC rejected Windows, so Mr. Gates decided to publicly mock OLPC. Very mature.

Associated Press recently said that Gates is considered by some observers the man who pays enough money to hijack the educational systems around the world. We have provided a lot more evidence to support this allegation and here is the latest complaint which is just days old.

Since when was this country’s educational system run by Bill Gates and his foundation? When exactly did he and those he’s hired become the top educational experts in the country?

As far as I can tell this (like much else) has to do with who has enough money to boss other people around. There are supposed to be other values in a democracy.

And the irony of the man who was sued by the federal government for a monopoly now endorsing competition in public education hasn’t escaped me, either.

Let us never forget what Bill Gates does for his Monsanto venture that he invests billions of dollars in. Fewa has shared with us the following essay, titled “Culture Wars Between Farmers”

We are all well aware of the no-man’s land of cultural difference between farmers and non-farmers. Visualize on the one hand a high rise apartment dweller in Manhattan burning more carbon than any human ever did before in history just to maintain his luxurious lifestyle while fretting about the evils of global warming. Hold that picture while, on the other hand, visualizing the farmer out in his barn on a frigid December morning shivering and quivering while losing money on every pint of milk he produces and wishing that global warming would hurry up and get here.

But there is another cultural divide coming to the fore in our society, this one between farmer and farmer. The best current example of this phenomenon is the flare up of opposition to Michael Pollan’s books criticizing industrial grain farms and animal factories. Agribusiness has suddenly realized it can no longer just ignore the opposition. A large scale corn and soybean farmer, Blake Hurst, went online with something he called the “Omnivore’s Delusion” to blast Pollan’s “Ominivore’s Dillema.” The crap really hit the fan. Industrial farm supporters and pastoral farm supporters went at each other on the Internet like a couple of tomcats, the former labeled sneeringly as factory food producers and the latter called, even more sneeringly, “agri-intellectuals.” Fast farming vs. fake farming.

For readers’ convenience, we add references about Gates and Monsanto below. By fostering tomorrow’s agricultural monopolies, Gates is causing damage that most people don’t understand, yet.

More about Monsanto:

  1. With Microsoft Monopoly in Check, Bill Gates Proceeds to Creating More Monopolies
  2. Gates-Backed Company Accused of Monopoly Abuse and Investigated
  3. How the Gates Foundation Privatises Africa
  4. Reader’s Article: The Gates Foundation and Genetically-Modified Foods
  5. Monsanto: The Microsoft of Food
  6. Seeds of Doubt in Bill Gates Investments
  7. Gates Foundation Accused of Faking/Fabricating Data to Advance Political Goals
  8. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  9. Video Transcript of Vandana Shiva on Insane Patents
  10. Explanation of What Bill Gates’ Patent Investments Do to Developing World
  11. Black Friday Film: What the Bill Gates-Backed Monsanto Does to Animals, Farmers, Food, and Patent Systems
  12. Gates Foundation Looking to Destroy Kenya with Intellectual Monopolies
  13. Young Napoleon Comes to Africa and Told Off
  14. Bill Gates Takes His GMO Patent Investments/Experiments to India
  15. Gates/Microsoft Tax Dodge and Agriculture Monopoly Revisited
  16. Gates Foundation Funds Literature Supportive of Its Objectives
  17. Bill Gates Tightens Information/Agriculture Grip on Africa by Funding African Journalists, Expanding to India
  18. Beyond the ‘Public Relations’
  19. UK Intellectual Monopoly Office (UK-IPO) May be Breaking the Law
  20. “Boycott Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in China”

‘Microsoft Press’ Acknowledges Microsoft’s Free Software-Hostile EU Deal

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Simons and Kroes
Photo of Wim Simons and Neelie Kroes
not from the public domain but
under the GNU Free Documentation License
(captions added separately)

Summary: Another look at a bad EU deal; software patents revisited; Microsoft’s copyright violations remembered

YESTERDAY we wrote about the European Commission failing to negotiate with Microsoft a deal that respects Free software users [1, 2]. Microsoft has been buying time and procrastinating until Neelie Kroes and others in the Commission needed to step down. Steve Ballmer's "schmoozing" trips to Neelie Kores did not help much, either.

It is rather surprising to see that even the ‘Microsoft press’ is covering some of the criticisms right now, notably by quoting critics other than itself:

Essentially, companies can sue if they think Microsoft is not following through with providing proper API documentation, according to a blog post by Groklaw, a frequent Microsoft critic and a site devoted to software legal issues. The Groklaw post noted that nothing has really changed for commercial software companies working with open source software under the GNU General Public License because Microsoft’s interoperability agreement appears to restrict commercial distribution of software without royalty agreements first being in place.

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) backed that view.

“The patent commitments are clearly insufficient, because they don’t allow commercial exploitation,” said Carlo Piana, FSFE’s legal counsel, in a released statement. “This keeps out competition from Free Software, which in many areas is the biggest competitor to Microsoft’s programs.”

The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) was also skeptical.

“Whether the public undertaking will create a more level competitive playing field where open source software is not subject to Microsoft patent FUD [fear, uncertainty, doubt], as has been the case in the past, is not yet clear,” the ECIS declared in a released statement (PDF).

Keith Bergelt (OIN CEO), who last got publicly involved when Microsoft floated anti-GNU/Linux patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], has just published this outlook for Linux in a world filled with intellectual monopolies, which are Microsoft’s weapon of choice against its #1 competition.

In the coming decade, Linux and other open source implementations will continue their migration from back office transaction processing and mission critical applications to the mobile and desktop computing spaces. This will transform the nature of communications and computing devices from static and utilitarian to dynamic and intelligent. This change has already begun to show itself in the Google mobile operating system – and the proliferation of devices that have been built on it by HTC and Motorola, among others.

Leveraging open source as a key building block for rapid innovation and reducing time-to-market is an irreversible trend.

Yet, as Linux and other open source initiatives usher in a new model for invention and value creation and further reinforces Linux as a permanent condition, longer term changes in the nature of the codification and management of the intellectual capital are prefigured by a set of observable trends in 2010.

It is interesting that OIN accepts rather than battles against software patents [1, 2] (Peer to Patent causes the same problem by legitimising “good” patents). But being somewhat of an IBM front, the OIN is expected to retain such a stance.

Microsoft would love people to think that GNU/Linux disregards intellectual monopolies, but Microsoft couldn’t care about them either, especially when applied to Microsoft. The Plurk incident is a fine example of that [1, 2, 3] and Microsoft is still expected to be sued.

Owners of Taiwanese Plurk microblog site have not decided yet whether and how to respond to cases of theft of code made by the company, which was commissioned by Microsoft to build another microblog service.

While Microsoft took upon himself the full responsibility, but apparently does not want to bear the legal consequences of this incident. According to the message given out Plurk site owners are wondering what legal action in this situation should take.

So it’s OK when Microsoft snubs intellectual monopolies (it knowingly and willfully infringes patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]) but very “naughty” and “communist” if GNU/Linux is against software patents.

“Thanks to Mr. Gates, we now know that an open Internet with protocols anyone can implement is communism; it was set up by that famous communist agent, the US Department of Defense.”

Richard Stallman

Taking Mono Off the Menu

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 4:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shotwell

Summary: Recommendation of Shotwell for the upcoming Ubuntu release (April 2010), as a key part of Mono replacements

CONTRARY to common misinterpretation (deception from Novell’s management), Mono is not legally safe because Microsoft has already defined boundaries for its use and deviation is not allowed either, which means that if this “Free” software (more like "Open Core") gets modified, then Microsoft has already threatened to sue.

Canonical has new management now. Jane Silber has the opportunity to remove the problematic parts from Ubuntu and we have already provided advice in:

  1. Gnote is Alive, New Release Available
  2. The Case for a Mono-Free Ubuntu and Novell’s Case for a Mono Fee Ubuntu
  3. With gThumb and Gnote in Ubuntu 10.04, Default Install Would be Leaner, Mono Free
  4. F-Spot (Mono) Can Still be Removed from Next Ubuntu
  5. Avoid Mono to Put Back the *NIX in GNU/Linux

gThumb is just one among many packages that can replace F-Spot while replacing Tomboy with Gnote should be trivial. Gnote does have an active maintainer.

Over at Linuxers, Shotwell has just been proposed as a replacement for F-Spot in Ubuntu 10.04 (codename “Lucid Lynx”). It is worth looking into.

All of you would know by now that Ubuntu Devels are planning to remove GIMP as a default program. This has led to a lot of discussions among them about the default photo manager for Ubuntu Lucid that will compensate for it. They are not supposed to be as powerful as GIMP but should be able to handle some minimal image manipulations. In this article, we will look into the 3 top competitors F-Spot, Shotwell and Solang.

And we will see what all features each of them aims to provide to be considered as the default photo manager cum image manipulator and viewer for Lucid.

Shotwell

Shotwell is an opensource photo manager designed for Gnome Desktop Environment. Instead of just being a photo organizer it is capable of doing some small image manipulations too like reducing red-eye, rotate, crop and mirror photos.

Here is the project’s homepage. We have just added it to our Wiki resources.

Eye on Microsoft: Zune Problems, Visual Studio Problems Lead to Delays

Posted in Apple, DRM, Hardware, Microsoft at 4:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Direct link

Summary: Latest flukes from Microsoft, as they appear in the news

Zune Twitter app – watch what you say!

There are reports that Microsoft is also having issues with another handheld devices app. This time it being ZuneHD and its Twitter application and before we go any further lets cast our minds back to new year 2009 when Zune was reported to have had an unfortunate incident with a “bug” reportedly causing it to freeze.

If recent reports are correct then Zune’s Twitter application is censoring explicit words without giving its users the option to turn off the feature and thus giving Zune attention once again as we approach the new year.

Microsoft delays Visual Studio 2010 launch due to virtual memory performance issues

Microsoft delays Visual Studio 2010 launch

Microsoft will delay the release of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 in order to have more time to address performance issues.


Direct link

Reader’s Article: Google’s Chrome EULA Disappoints

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Google at 3:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chrome logoSummary: Thoughts about Chrome from a legal perspective

ONE OF OUR readers has composed the following assessment of Chrome and what it means to the users’ freedom.

I thought it would be nice to try out Chrome for Linux but decided not to because of the binary EULA. I’d like to have a way to watch YouTube without installing Adobe’s Flash. EULAs always put a bad taste in my mouth, surely Google’s would not be so bad? Nope, like most EULAs this one is poorly worded and demands a surrender of rights contrary to many nations’ laws.

http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/eula_text.html

The misleading term “intellectual property” shows up many times. This neologism reduces the justification and powers of copyright, patent and trade mark law to one weak minded confusion. Powers appropriate for one set of laws are transfered to the others while the purposes are forgotten. It has no place in law, contracts or intelligent discourse. The contract also uses the insulting and disrespectful phrase “content” to describe works.

http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/words-to-avoid.html

The two most most shocking clauses demands recognition of software patents and surrender of fair use rights.

8.1 You acknowledge and agree that Google (or Google’s licensors) own all legal right, title and interest in and to the Services, including any intellectual property rights which subsist in the Services (whether those rights happen to be registered or not, and wherever in the world those rights may exist).

7.2 … You may not modify, rent, lease, loan, sell, distribute or create derivative works based on this Content (either in whole or in part) unless you have been specifically told that you may do so by Google or by the owners of that Content, in a separate agreement.

The source code terms are a lot better, so I have to wonder what the Google people were thinking above. The general license terms look like free software but specific portions include a confusing variety of MIT, BSD and even a deceptive license from Microsoft.

http://code.google.com/chromium/terms.html

Overall, I don’t think I’d get what I wanted, which was a dedicated, fast browser for Google services that understood flash without being obnoxious. If Chrome really is free software, people will make it work from source code and it will soon end up in repositories. I’d rather wait than sign away free use and agree that software patents are legitimate.

Speaking for myself, I avoid Chrome because I believe people need to empower Free software vendors like Mozilla and projects like GNOME and KDE. Using their Web browsers is the latest one can do.

Links 20/12/2009: Arora 0.10.2 Out; Pixel Qi Display with Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 10:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 10 important Linux developments everyone should know about

    The Linux® technology, development model, and community have all been game-changing influences on the IT industry, and all we can really do is stand back and look at it all, happy to have been along for the ride for developerWorks’ first 10 years. The Linux zone team has put together this greatly abbreviated collection of things that stand out in our minds as having rocked the world of Linux in a significant way.

    Much too much has happened with Linux in the last 10 years to do anything like a complete job of listing the important events and technological advances surrounding this operating system. But nevertheless, in celebration of our 10th birthday, the Linux zone team looks back and presents to you some major milestones, why they matter, and what we wrote about them. Please to enjoy.

  • From windows to Linux. Was there a choice?

    Currently I think that, until Linux came along, the normal pc user didn’t have a choice in operating systems. They had windows and whether they liked it or not they were stuck with it. Now that Linux has evolved into a useful package which anybody can use, people do have a viable choice and they are choosing it.

    Tell us. Do you use windows only because you didn’t think you had a choice? Now that you have a choice and you can choose to use Linux, BSD or windows, has that available choice effected your decision? Do you think differently about your operating system now that you know there are alternatives?

  • Defensive Computing Priorities

    I know this is extreme, but I’m far from the only person offering this advice. Firefox, running off a bootable copy of Linux on a CD, USB flash drive or SD memory card can be your best friend. For more, see my trio of articles on this at eSecurity Planet:

    * Consider Linux for Secure Online Banking August 2009
    * Windows and Online Banking: A Dangerous Mix October 2009
    * Online Banking: Taking Issue With The New York Times December 2009

    There are so many choices and options. Hopefully this list will help you prioritize your time and money.

  • Applications

  • Devices/Embedded

    • UEIPAC 2.0 Linux-based PAC now available in All UEI PPC-Based Chassis

      United Electronic Industries (UEI) released Version 2.0 of its UEIPAC Programmable Automation Controller. Some of the new features of the popular Linux-based controller are:

    • Android

      • Notion Ink Tegra Android smartpad uses Pixel Qi display

        The big issue remaining is price, and so far we’re not sure exactly what sort of MRSP Notion Ink expect their Android Tegra tablet to command. The general consensus seems to be that a $300 price point is roughly what the market expects; however we’re not sure everything on the smartpad’s spec-sheet could be brought in for that price, at least not without carrier subsidies. We’ll update with more information when we have it, together with video.

      • 10 Best Free Android Applications

        Before, we have featured here several killer apps for Android. Now that there are a growing number of third-party applications that are made for the Android platform, let’s take a look at a few of them.

        The following are some of the best Android apps that you can get for free…

    • Nokia

      • Nokia N900 review

        The N900 is Nokia’s most hyped phone this year, running on the Linux-based Maemo OS. Does it show that Symbian should be scrapped or is it just another touch screen disappointment? We review the N900 to find out.

        Nokia’s recent news that it may make the move from Symbian to Maemo for all its smartphones won’t come as a disappointment to those who have been tut tutting over Symbian’s antiquated S60 OS.

      • Get Review of Nokia N900

        On the first note, Nokia’s N900 is a highly successful handset that came in the market. It is full packaged smartphone comprised with speedy multitasking, complete range of applications desired, big screen and large storage capacity. The only things which slightly letdown in the handset are it’s less than pocket able size and shirk keyboard.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • 400 OLPC XO laptops to primary school children

        The first Sri Lankan project of the internationally lauded One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation was officially launched on Thursday with “over 400″ primary school children being presented OLPC XO laptops “personally” by the country’s President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to a statement by the local arm of OLPC.

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Concise Introduction to Free and Open Source Software
  • A Concise Introduction to Free and Open Source Software [Direct link]

    Abstract: In the early days of information technology (IT), computers were delivered with operating systems and basic application software already installed, without additional cost, and in editable (source code) form. But as software emerged as a stand-alone product, the independent software vendors (ISVs) that were launched to take advantage of this commercial opportunity no longer delivered source code, in order to prevent competitors from gaining access to their trade secrets. The practice also had the (intended) result that computer users became dependent on their ISVs for support and upgrades. Due to the increasingly substantial investments computer users made in application software, they also became “locked in” to their hardware and software vendors’ products, because of the high cost of abandoning, or reconfiguring, their existing application software to run on the proprietary operating system of a new vendor. In response, a movement in support of “free software” (i.e., programs accompanied both by source code as well as the legal right to modify, share and distribute that code) emerged in the mid 1980s. The early proponents of free software regarded the right to share source code as an essential freedom, but a later faction focused only on the practical advantages of freely sharable code, which they called “open source.” Concurrently, the Internet enabled a highly distributed model of software development to become pervasive, based upon voluntary code contributions and globally collaborative efforts. The combined force of these developments resulted in the rapid proliferation of “free and open source software” (FOSS) development projects that have created many “best of breed” operating system and application software products, such that the economic importance of FOSS has now become very substantial. In this article, I trace the origins and theories of the free software and open source movements, the complicated legal implications of FOSS development and use, and the supporting infrastructural ecosystem that has grown up to support this increasingly vital component of our modern, IT based society.

  • Renaissance in Impress for 3.3: Read the specification and post your feedback

    I know the holidays are drawing near and you are twiddling your thumbs, bored, not knowing what to do now that you already bought and wrapped all the presents and sent all the cards. ;-) Well, never fear! I have just the thing to keep you from falling asleep at your keyboard while watching animated snowfall.

  • Sun releases open source security tools to help firms build data clouds

    As part of its strategy to help firms build public and private data clouds that are open and interoperable, Sun Microsystems has unveiled a set of open source cloud security tools.

  • Third phase of open source: customer participation

    JP Morgan Chase led the way by open-sourcing its AMQP project. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange has also jumped into the fray with Linux. Reuters has its OpenCalais project, a project that is even being used here at CNET.

    And so on. It’s happening. It’s real. And for those enterprises that jump into this third phase of open-source participation, the benefits promise to be palpable.

  • An integrated Atlassian thanks to OpenSocial (Q&A)

    Simons: The OpenSocial community is quite active. The Apache Shindig project is also quite active. The OpenSocial specification 1.0 (it’s on v0.9 currently) should be released in January 2010.

  • Can going open save CAT?

    After the online CAT’s huge debacle on debut, the IIMs are reportedly planning to use Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) for next year’s test. FOSS will substitute the proprietary software in use right now to avoid system crashes in the future.

    This year’s CAT faced crash issues mostly due to attacks by viruses like Conficker and W32.NIMDA that hit several exam centres and slowed down systems which eventually led to cancellations at some centres.

  • 10 operating systems you’ve never heard of

    We’re going to look at 10 of the most intriguing open-source operating systems in this brave new world. In most cases these are available as CD ISO images that you can burn to CD-Rs and boot up for testing if you fancy it.

    Alternatively, a simpler approach is to use a PC emulator such as VirtualBox or Qemu. With these and similar tools you can use ‘.iso’ image files (or ‘.flp’ floppy disc images) as virtual drives, so there’s no need to write any physical media.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • Fall 2009 [Bulletin]

      The Free Software Foundation Bulletin from December 2009, presented here for viewing online, or for download as a PDF file.

  • Openness

    • Parliament pushes for all EU documents to be made public

      EU access to documents laws should be widened to cover all European institutions, bodies and agencies following the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, MEPs said yesterday (17 December), criticising the European Commission for failing to update the rules.

    • Time for a University Prepress?

      Given that the OU is a publication house, publishing research and teaching materials as a way of generating income, I wonder if there is an opportunity for the Library to support the research publication process providing specialist support for research authors, including optimising them for discovery!

    • Free Culture Gets Political

      For years, the free culture world was resolutely focused on building its eclectic array of commons projects — free software, open-access journals, wikis, and pools of creative works using Creative Commons licenses. History may record that the free culture reached a turning point in Barcelona, Spain, in November 2009. At the Free Culture Forum, a conference that just concluded this week, free culture activists from about twenty countries came together to assert a shared political and policy agenda.

    • Ransom America’s public domain video treasures back from the National Archives!

      Background: these videos were made at US taxpayer expense, and they are in the public domain. However, they aren’t distributed for free by the National Archives; instead they’re sold through Amazon as a money-maker for the government, which charges you to get access to the stuff you already own and paid for. The Archives get a minuscule amount of money by doing this: $3,273.66 over the past two years! In order to make a measly three grand, the National Archives have closed off the entire USA’s access to its video treasures.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Alisher Usmanov: The Scary Russian Oligarch Seducing Silicon Valley

    Alisher Usmanov is nicknamed “the hard man of Russia,” but he’s good at seducing the softies in California’s tech community: An investment firm he backs lead a $180 million investment in Zynga, the gaming company that trafficked in scammy ads.

  • Google

    • Google To Acquire DocVerse; Office War Heats Up

      Google, which is currently on one heck of a spending spree, is closing an acquisition of San Francisco based DocVerse, a service that lets users collaborate around Microsoft Office documents, we’ve heard from a source with knowledge of the deal. The purchase price is supposed to be around $25 million.

    • Google Releases EtherPad as Open Source to Calm Users

      Google has released the source code of EtherPad, a Web-hosted word processor designed for real-time workgroup collaboration, in a move aimed at appeasing users of the product who complained about plans to discontinue it.

    • Google’s synchronicity

      On the latest This Week in Google, we talked about many of Google’s product announcements and enhancements and though none on its own was earthshattering, as we added them up, I started to see synchronicity approaching — all the moreso last night when TechCrunch reported that Google’s negotiating to buy Yelp.

      I see a strategy emerging that has Google profoundly improve search by better anticipating our intent and then moving past search to build hegemony in local and mobile (which will come to mean the same thing).

  • Police State

    • UK e-Borders scheme thrown into confusion by EU rules

      Conflicts with EU free movement rules have thrown the UK’s £1.2 billion electronic borders program into disarray.

    • Names of innocent people will stay on police database

      The names of nearly a million people who have not been convicted or cautioned for any crime will continue to be stored on the police national computer, even though the government is changing the law so that their DNA profiles are deleted.

      The revelation has provoked outrage among human rights groups who warn that it could affect the job prospects of the innocent. They fear that whenever an employer carries out an “enhanced criminal records” check on a potential employee, the system would flag up the fact that the person had been arrested.

  • Environment

    • Can We Redefine Prosperity? – Herman Daly – Towards a Steady State Economy

      As the holidays approach we will probably be highlighting some of our better content from years past. The below essay, on the day of Fed Chairman Bernanke’s reappointment, is perhaps an apppropriate example of such. Originally from May 2008 the essay is written by Herman Daly, who popularized the term “Steady State Economy” over 3 decades ago. (Professor Daly subsequently contributed another TOD essay on the credit crisis). Just as Paul Volcker’s recent comments are a refreshing departure from the garbage of Greenspan (who has been saying that market reflation creates its own wealth),

    • Low targets, goals dropped: Copenhagen ends in failure

      The UN climate summit reached a weak outline of a global agreement in Copenhagen tonight, falling far short of what Britain and many poor countries were seeking and leaving months of tough negotiations to come.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Chinese proposal to meter internet traffic

      China wants to meter all internet traffic that passes through its borders, it has emerged.

      The move would require international agreement – but it is being discussed by the United Nations body in charge of internet standards.

    • A Thinly Veiled Threat? Of What Exactly?

      Today I received the following communication via email from one of Nottingham City Council’s senior solicitors.

    • Nottingham City Council Attacks Free Speech

      Nottingham City Council has made the unprecedented step of threatening a critical local blogger via its solicitors. In a letter sent to the author of the Nottingham City Council LOLs (NCCLOLs) blog, solicitor Jon Ludford-Thomas states that the blog “contains personal, derogatory comments regarding a number of [the City Council's] councillors and employees that could cause distress to those individuals.” It requests that the author “remove these personal, derogatory comments from ncclols and refrain from posting similar such comments on ncclols or elsewhere on the internet.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • British Music Industry Sees Piracy Threat Beyond P2P

      A new survey carried out on behalf of the BPI in the UK indicates that despite best efforts, P2P use is not in decline. As the industry continues to drag its feet when it comes to competing against other suppliers of music online, many consumers are branching out and turning to several alternative methods for acquiring their sounds.

    • NSFW: Free as in “my publisher will disown me after I pirate my book on TechCrunch”

      Since moving to the US and started to write for TechCrunch, I now have more people reading my words each week in North America than I do in the UK. Every week I delight in annoying commenters by promoting my war-of-the-worlds-winning book, to the point where people seem genuinely upset when I miss an opportunity to do so. And yet barely a day goes by without someone telling me they tried to find my book in the US, only to be disappointed that – due to publishing’s ridiculous obsession with territories – it’s only available outside North America. “It’s available on the Kindle” I say. “Pft” they reply, “I don’t have a Kindle”. In most cases I end up emailing them a PDF – a distribution model that doesn’t really scale.

    • Holy See declares unique copyright on Papal figure

      The Vatican made a declaration on the protection of the figure of the Pope on Saturday morning. The statement seeks to establish and safeguard the name, image and any symbols of the Pope as being expressly for official use of the Holy See unless otherwise authorized.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Joerg Heilig, Sun Microsystems Senior Engineering Director talks about OpenOffice.org 05 (2004)


Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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